Kemin's 5 Steps to Sustainability
By Kim Colletti, Global Cognition Product Manager
Kermit the Frog said it best, “It's not easy bein' green.” It seems these days that everyone is making a “clean” and “green” claim. But actually producing a sustainable product takes precise planning, careful supply chain management and a long-term outlook. Sustainable business practices must be sustainable for generations to come.
Sustainable practices are trending in the world of corporate social responsibility, but consumers are demanding sustainable products as well. A recent consumer trend study by NMI shows when consumers know a company is mindful of its environmental impact, they are more likely to try the product, purchase it regularly and even go a little viral to spread the word about that company’s products or services.1
In a 2009 Harvard Business Review report, business strategy experts R Nidumolu, C.L. Prahalad and M.R. Rangaswami state that identify five key stages a company must complete in order to become truly sustainable.2 According to the report, there is "no alternative to sustainability," yet some companies still believe that moving toward sustainable practices will oust any competitive advantage.
At Kemin, that mindset is far from the truth. As a supplier of plant-based ingredients, one of our competitive advantages is our ability to pass along sustainable products to our customers. Kemin’s spearmint is certified Sustainably Grown by SCS Global Services. Rigorous audits have given both our rosemary and spearmint crop production the sustainable stamp of approval.
Here's our take on 5 steps to sustainability:
1. Exceed the rules:
In this stage, it’s important to not only comply with the most stringent environmental regulations, but anticipate and meet future regulations to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Kemin is one of the only suppliers able to provide spearmint extract-based ingredients to our customers who wish to offer the highest level of sustainable agricultural practices to their consumers. We are continually re-evaluating our agricultural and manufacturing processes to find areas for improvement.
2. Assess the entire value chain:
Every core competency can be redesigned to use less energy, generate less waste and reduce harmful outputs.
We designed our botanical manufacturing facilities to clean the air of carbon dioxide, emit oxygen and produce waste matter that returns nutrients to the soil.
3. Produce sustainable products:
Companies often begin this stage after discovering their consumers prefer environmentally-friendly offerings. Half of the challenge in this stage is creating new processes to develop sustainable products. The other half of the challenge is marketing these products to consumers.
Kemin helps our customers tackle both halves of this challenge. We produce Neumentix, a sustainably-grown spearmint-extract ingredient. When manufacturers use Neumentix in their supplement product, they gain access to Kemin’s science-backed claims and marketing support.
This sustainable exploration process identifies new delivery systems, new products and new models that give a company a competitive advantage over others.
We are constantly exploring better ways of keeping people healthy and feeding growing populations in a more sustainable manner. As environmental changes are constantly evolving, we too are constantly developing new ways of addressing the need for specialized nutrition.
Long term success requires constant exploration of new and alternative processes. To embed this challenging mindset into company culture, top management and recruiting must focus on social responsibility and environmental commitment.
Kemin contracts with family farmers in the United States to grow its proprietary, sustainable crops. These partnerships not only increase the quality and quantity of crops but improves farming practices by promoting outside thinking and building community relations.
When asked, is it all worth it? Kemin has no hesitation. As humans, we place enormous pressure on our planet. It’s our responsibility to develop new approaches for softening our footprint while still providing the necessary nutrients to sustain our own health and wellness. In our eyes, sustainability is the only option.
Kim Colletti, MBA, is the Global Cognition Product Manager at Kemin Human Nutrition and Health.
A graduate of the University of Iowa Tippe College of Business EMBA program, she has over 20 years of strategic business-to-business marketing and sales experience.
She's passionate about growing the reach of Kemin's brain health ingredient to improve the lives of consumers around the globe.
- Steve French. Opportunities Challenges and Winning Over Green Customers, NMI, New Hope Network, newhope.com. Accessed March 2, 2017.
- Nidumolu, R., Prahalad, C. K., & Rangaswami, M. R. (2009). Why Sustainability is Now the Key Driver of Innovation. Harvard Business Review, 87(9), 56-64.